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LH 126: Sourdough Starter & Heirloom Flour

How to make sourdough bread, use stone-ground heirloom flour AND make onion jam to spread on those fresh baked loves.

This is an important episode and I could not be more excited to share it. Here’s why…

When we take the time to do things like make our own breads or ferment our own yogurt, we are not only creating incredible flavors – we are also connecting with our food.


When we take that connection a step further by investigating where the base ingredients for that food comes from…then, we are participating in the story of our food.

That deep dive is what this week’s episode is all about.

I brought on Sarah Owens, a James Beard Award-winning author, baker, and organic gardener. We look at the art of making sourdough starter from the seed in the field to the delicious steaming bread loaf coming out of the oven.

We look at the whole story and the importance of good ingredients when it comes to our health and that of our planet.

But hey – we didn’t even scratch the surface of this big topic! And I’m sure this episode will leave you wanting to hear more. But fear not – I plan on having Sarah back soon.

In the meantime, you’ll learn all about sourdough starter, heirloom grains, and even onion jam.



You will learn:

  • Why conventionally grown wheat is actually pretty scary
  • What is it about sourdough that’s so good for gut-health
  • Why heirloom, stone-milled flours are better for us
  • How should you store stone-milled flour for best results
  • What exactly is a subscription-based artisan microbakery
  • The difference between yeast-water sourdough and traditional sourdough
  • How foraged ingredients can be nutrient-rich
  • What makes onion jam so darn addictive

Sarah Owens:

Sarah Owens is an autodidactic baker and gardener with a thirst for travel and an insatiable hunger for creativity in the kitchen. She grew up in Clinton, Tennessee, and received a bachelor of arts with an emphasis in ceramics from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. After receiving a certificate from the New York Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture, she spent six years as curator of the historic Cranford Rose Garden and the Rose Arc Pool at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

She is the owner of BK17 Bakery, a subscription artisan microbakery that began in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More, which won a James Beard Award, and she teaches workshops on natural leavening, fermenting, and horticulture worldwide. Most recently, Sarah has been working with The Sadalsuud Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting Syrian refugees and building community throughout Lebanon.

Sarah traveled to Beirut and Tripoli to help establish a naturally leavened bakery and to teach women how to maintain a starter and produce and bake sustainable, hearth-style breads. She is working with Sadalsuud to hopefully go back to Lebanon this year to develop a pastry program as well. When not traveling, Sarah lives and teaches seaside on New York’s Rockaway Peninsula.

Want Sarah’s Recipe for Onion Jam?

Sarah talked about the wonders of making a sweet n’ savory spread for your homemade breads and gave the example of her Onion, Thyme and Date Jam recipe.

She has graciously agreed to share the recipe with us!

If’ you’d like a copy of the printable PDF version of this recipe excerpted from her Toast and Jam Book, just click the button below.


Resources & Links Mentioned:

BK17 BakerySarah’s website and bakery

SourdoughSarah’s book

Toast & JamSarah’s book

Sources for Heirloom & Stone-Milled Flour:

Carolina Groundin Asheville, NC

Eat Grainin Vancouver, Canada

Grist & Toll in Los Angeles, CA

Hayden Flour MillsPhoenix, AZ

Maine GrainsSkowhegan, Maine



Click here for the full transcript for Episode #126

*denotes an affiliate link

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy® and is the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenage boys and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.


  • Karen says:

    Hi Theresa,
    First of all I LOVE your podcasts and listen and learn so much . I especially enjoyed this one, with Sara Owens. A friend introduced me to her book Sourdough and it’s changed my life. She is so knowledgeable and her recipes are SO delicious. Thank you for the interview- I hope you’ll have her on again. Keep up the fabulous work!!!

    • theresa says:

      Hi Karen – I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. It’s one of my favorite interviews as well and I knew she was a good fit for my listeners. She WILL be back. I promise! 🙂

  • Paula Daniels says:

    This topic has been of interest to me for a long time, but have not taken the time to research. Loved the episode, I think one of the best, although I learn something on every podcast episode!:) Thanks Theresa for all the information on living a healthier life. I’ve listened since the beginning and will continue!

  • Linda says:

    I am just listening to this podcast today. I have been learning from sourdough since the summer. I have made one starter with grapes (with rye flour Arrowhead) and the other just flour and water (unbleached white KAF). I’ve had successes and failures. About even. But I haven’t given up. Thank you for the sources! I love the podcast! I learn LOTS AND LOTS!!

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